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Why Does the Modi Govt Want To Merge Delhi's 3 Civic Bodies? Will It Harm AAP?

The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 5 April, passed The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022.

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The Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, 5 April, passed The Delhi Municipal Corporation (Amendment) Bill, 2022. The bill was passed by the Lok Sabha on 30 March.

The bill seeks to merge the three existing municipal corporations in Delhi to create a single unified Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD).

While the Bharatiya Janata Party has welcomed the Centre's approval, the Aam Aadmi Party – which is in power in Delhi – has pointed out that the BJP has deliberately delayed the polls. "BJP had seven years for this unification, but the way they have postponed the polls is not good for democracy."

Why Does the Modi Govt Want To Merge Delhi's 3 Civic Bodies? Will It Harm AAP?

  1. 1. When SEC Deferred the Announcement of Poll Dates

    The State Election Commission (SEC) had deferred the announcement of the dates for municipal elections on 9 March, citing an unofficial communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal. Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

    The elections were originally expected to take place in April 2022.

    Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that the proposed unification of MCD comes a decade after its trifurcation under the Sheila Dikhsit-led Congress government in Delhi.
    Expand
  2. 2. Why Was the MCD Trifurcated in 2012?

    In January 2012, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated into three smaller municipal corporations: the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

    While the North Delhi and South Delhi corporations comprised 104 municipal wards, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation was made up of a mere 64 wards.

    The reason for the trifurcation, as announced by the Shiela Dikshit government, was to serve the people of the city better by decentralising the service.

    Expand
  3. 3. Did the Trifurcation of MCD Work?

    According to News 18, the last commissioner of the unified municipal corporation, KS Mehra said that the trifurcation did more harm than good.

    "Now there are three mayors, three standing committee chairpersons, three commissioners, their staff. Everything is tripled and so is the expenditure. It definitely does not mean efficient services," Mehra said.

    Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the trifurcation, a financial crisis had emerged, specifically in the North and East municipal corporations. This is because the South body had a demographic advantage over the other two owing to the presence of zones that paid higher property taxes.

    The implication of this, as pointed out by The Indian Express, was:

    • The South ended up earning around 30% of its internal revenue through property tax

    • The North ended up earning a mere 15% of its internal revenue through property tax

    • The East could only manage to scrape a paltry 9% of its internal revenue through property tax

    Expand
  4. 4. Why Does the BJP Want To Merge the 3 MCDs?

    To explain away the financial crisis within the MCDs, the BJP has often blamed the AAP for not paying its dues. Meanwhile, the AAP has pinned the blame on alleged corruption within the BJP-led MCDs for the same.

    Hailing the cabinet’s approval of 'The Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Act 2022', BJP MP Manoj Tiwari had said:

    "We should know that the east and north civic bodies didn’t earn enough revenue. The decision of trifurcation was political and not for the welfare of the residents. By the unification, we would be able to streamline revenue and payments."

    Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta, on his part, said that the "reunification of corporations will help make them more efficient."

    Expand
  5. 5. How Has the AAP Reacted?

    Pointing out that "not all aspects of the bill have come forth, so saying anything regarding the unification of MCD would be hasty," Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said that they do not really have a problem with the bill. However, Rai did go on to point out this, according to ANI:

    "BJP had seven years for this unification, but the way they have postponed the polls is not good for democracy."

    Meanwhile, AAP leader Atishi Marlena asked “Why did BJP think of the unification of MCD only after the exit poll results of Punjab elections?”

    “The BJP government has been in power both in the centre, as well as in the MCD, but they remembered unification is to be done only when the municipal poll dates were slated to be announced?”
    Atishi

    She further pointed out that "the public is not foolish".

    The Aam Aadmi Party’s implication is that the BJP is terrified of the anti-incumbency wave ahead of the municipal body polls and hence they are trying to safeguard their position by compelling the SEC to defer the polls.

    "BJP is scared of losing MCD elections in Delhi," AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj reiterated.

    Throwing back to BJP’s assembly election defeat in 2014, Bharadwaj also said, “Even now no matter how much you delay or make excuses, BJP's defeat in Delhi municipal elections is certain.”

    Expand
  6. 6. What Is the Congress Saying?

    Meanwhile, senior Congress Leader Ajay Maken, tweeted: “General consensus is that along with being administratively beneficial, the unification of the Municipal Corporations will improve its financial position.”

    He also, however, stated that in a bid to prevent a delay in elections, the Centre should have brought this bill at least six months earlier.

    Further, he said:

    “Delhi’s AAP Government cannot escape any blame, as they had financially starved the municipal corporations for political reasons. The Union and State Government should not enter into a new blame game and ensure holding of MCD elections as soon as possible."

    According to PTI, Delhi Congress President Chaudhary Anil Kumar, on his part, dubbed the merger a “scripted move” by the BJP and the AAP to postpone the MCD polls, and goes on to point out that the MCDs required funds and not the merger.

    He also reportedly suggested that if the MCDs were being unified for the betterment of Delhi, then the New Delhi Municipal Council should also be merged with the corporations for better governance.

    (With inputs from News18, The Indian Express, ANI, and PTI.)

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

When SEC Deferred the Announcement of Poll Dates

The State Election Commission (SEC) had deferred the announcement of the dates for municipal elections on 9 March, citing an unofficial communication from Lt Governor Anil Baijal. Reportedly, Baijal had conveyed to the SEC that the Centre was intending to pass legislation to merge the three municipal corporations of Delhi.

The elections were originally expected to take place in April 2022.

Meanwhile, it is pertinent to note that the proposed unification of MCD comes a decade after its trifurcation under the Sheila Dikhsit-led Congress government in Delhi.
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Why Was the MCD Trifurcated in 2012?

In January 2012, the Municipal Corporation of Delhi was trifurcated into three smaller municipal corporations: the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation.

While the North Delhi and South Delhi corporations comprised 104 municipal wards, the East Delhi Municipal Corporation was made up of a mere 64 wards.

The reason for the trifurcation, as announced by the Shiela Dikshit government, was to serve the people of the city better by decentralising the service.

0

Did the Trifurcation of MCD Work?

According to News 18, the last commissioner of the unified municipal corporation, KS Mehra said that the trifurcation did more harm than good.

"Now there are three mayors, three standing committee chairpersons, three commissioners, their staff. Everything is tripled and so is the expenditure. It definitely does not mean efficient services," Mehra said.

Meanwhile, in the aftermath of the trifurcation, a financial crisis had emerged, specifically in the North and East municipal corporations. This is because the South body had a demographic advantage over the other two owing to the presence of zones that paid higher property taxes.

The implication of this, as pointed out by The Indian Express, was:

  • The South ended up earning around 30% of its internal revenue through property tax

  • The North ended up earning a mere 15% of its internal revenue through property tax

  • The East could only manage to scrape a paltry 9% of its internal revenue through property tax

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Why Does the BJP Want To Merge the 3 MCDs?

To explain away the financial crisis within the MCDs, the BJP has often blamed the AAP for not paying its dues. Meanwhile, the AAP has pinned the blame on alleged corruption within the BJP-led MCDs for the same.

Hailing the cabinet’s approval of 'The Delhi Municipal Corporation Amendment Act 2022', BJP MP Manoj Tiwari had said:

"We should know that the east and north civic bodies didn’t earn enough revenue. The decision of trifurcation was political and not for the welfare of the residents. By the unification, we would be able to streamline revenue and payments."

Delhi BJP President Adesh Gupta, on his part, said that the "reunification of corporations will help make them more efficient."

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Has the AAP Reacted?

Pointing out that "not all aspects of the bill have come forth, so saying anything regarding the unification of MCD would be hasty," Delhi Minister Gopal Rai said that they do not really have a problem with the bill. However, Rai did go on to point out this, according to ANI:

"BJP had seven years for this unification, but the way they have postponed the polls is not good for democracy."

Meanwhile, AAP leader Atishi Marlena asked “Why did BJP think of the unification of MCD only after the exit poll results of Punjab elections?”

“The BJP government has been in power both in the centre, as well as in the MCD, but they remembered unification is to be done only when the municipal poll dates were slated to be announced?”
Atishi

She further pointed out that "the public is not foolish".

The Aam Aadmi Party’s implication is that the BJP is terrified of the anti-incumbency wave ahead of the municipal body polls and hence they are trying to safeguard their position by compelling the SEC to defer the polls.

"BJP is scared of losing MCD elections in Delhi," AAP MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj reiterated.

Throwing back to BJP’s assembly election defeat in 2014, Bharadwaj also said, “Even now no matter how much you delay or make excuses, BJP's defeat in Delhi municipal elections is certain.”

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

What Is the Congress Saying?

Meanwhile, senior Congress Leader Ajay Maken, tweeted: “General consensus is that along with being administratively beneficial, the unification of the Municipal Corporations will improve its financial position.”

He also, however, stated that in a bid to prevent a delay in elections, the Centre should have brought this bill at least six months earlier.

Further, he said:

“Delhi’s AAP Government cannot escape any blame, as they had financially starved the municipal corporations for political reasons. The Union and State Government should not enter into a new blame game and ensure holding of MCD elections as soon as possible."

According to PTI, Delhi Congress President Chaudhary Anil Kumar, on his part, dubbed the merger a “scripted move” by the BJP and the AAP to postpone the MCD polls, and goes on to point out that the MCDs required funds and not the merger.

He also reportedly suggested that if the MCDs were being unified for the betterment of Delhi, then the New Delhi Municipal Council should also be merged with the corporations for better governance.

(With inputs from News18, The Indian Express, ANI, and PTI.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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